Category Archives: Architecture and Design

Gay Life Gay Bars Dubai

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We have never been to Dubai, but would love to see it someday. But I find it a little scary!

Paul Ewart   from  news.com.au  says,”I arrived in the city during the height of summer to take a section editor job at a large glossy magazine. My friends back home in London joked about my forthcoming years of celibacy and, though I laughed along with them at the time, as the plane touched down on the tarmac of Dubai’s airport my bravado faltered.
From the get go, I’m under no illusions about Dubai’s official attitude to homosexuality. Soon after arriving in order to secure a working visa I’m tested for HIV (any expat with the disease is immediately repatriated, alongside anyone found to have tuberculosis).

On the surface conditions for gay Dubaiians might seem bleak, but thanks to some quickly acquired gay friends I learn quickly that, despite the legalities, a vibrant gay scene flourishes. In fact, thanks to a huge population of young professional expats, the scene is one of the most multicultural and diverse around.

I break my Dubai gay club virginity at one of the most popular hangouts. Entering via an underground carpark on a Saturday evening, my male friend and I encounter the uneven door policies that are rife throughout gay venues (a vague attempt to curb gay activity).

Men arriving solo or in all-male groups pay more, queue separately and are often denied entry altogether.

Inside, the place is packed to the rafters with a United Nations of men: butch Lebanese and their Asian playthings mingle with trendily dressed Europeans and a smatterings of Australians, Americans, Canadians, alongside Indians and Pakistanis.”

READ  MORE  HERE.

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San Miguel de Allende

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About San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende, better known as “the heart of Mexico,” is considered the spot where national independence was forged, the birthplace of illustrious historical figures and a colonial urban jewel distinguished by the warmth and generosity of its people, rich history, and cultural and architectural heritage. On July 7, 2008, the city was named a UNESCO Cultural Heritage city, under the title of “Protective town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco.” The United Nations agency awarded the city this distinction in recognition of its cultural and architectural contribution to the Mexican Baroque style of art and architecture.

 
For more information, please visit: www.visitsanmiguel.travel

Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende closed a successful awards season today with the announcement that Conde Nast Traveler magazine has named the UNESCO World Heritage site fifth in the overall “Best City in the World” category at this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

The accolades come four months after the colonial city was named the No. 1 city in Mexico and Central and South America and No. 3 in the World’s Best Cities category at Travel + Leisure magazine’s World’s Best Awards 2016. Conde Nast Traveler readers also honored San Miguel de Allende’s accommodations infrastructure by voting three of its hotels into the Top 5 in Mexico: Hotel Matilda, in first place; Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, in second place; and Hotel Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada, in fourth place. Hotel Matilda also ranked as #3 in the world listing.

“San Miguel de Allende is a top Mexican destination, attracting international travelers to our city because of its meticulous colonial architecture,” said Ricardo Villarreal, Mayor of San Miguel de Allende. “The fact that Conde Nast Travelers recognize the authenticity of our city is a sign that we are maintaining the city properly.

“We welcome all visitors to come and experience an authentic Mexican city, and continue to strive to provide a unique one-of-a-kind destination in Mexico and Latin America,” he added.

Located in the Bajio region of Mexico, in the state of Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende has a mystical quality. Its picturesque cobblestone streets and colonial architecture — combined with colonial-era traditions both religious and secular, a spectacular natural setting and Mexico’s vibrant culture — are only enhanced by the embrace of all its many facets by both the friendly locals and the diverse, melting-pot population comprised of hundreds of expats, representing 63 nationalities, who have made San Miguel de Allende their home.

In 2008, the city was named a UNESCO World Heritage site, under the title of “Protective Town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno de Atotonilco.” The distinction was granted due to the city’s cultural significance, its architectural contribution to the Mexican Baroque art and architecture movement, and also the role it played in the fight for Mexican independence.

Conde Nast Traveler readers took part in the 29th annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey by submitting millions of ratings and tens of thousands of comments to help us create a list of winning favorites.

For a full list of Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards. click here

BEST Travel Deals in Prague and Budapest

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For years, I have raved about  Prague and Budapest as GREAT TRAVEL VALUES! Both BEAUTIFUL with amazing architecture, nice sampling of gay life, and fantastic food and lodging values.

In a survey that measured the cost of a dozen alcoholic drinks – from beer to wine to champagne and various cocktails – throughout 16 major European cities, Prague was named the cheapest according to a new article in The Telegraph.

Leading the pack with a £1.26 (45 CZK) beer, a £1.57 (55 CZK) wine, a £2.03 (70 CZK) brandy and a £2.83 (99 CZK) vodka and orange, the total cost of a dozen varied alcoholic beverages came to £28.74 (roughly 1000 CZK) in Prague.

In second place was Budapest, with a total cost of £30.20 (1060 CZK) for the 12 drinks. In a similar survey conducted a year ago, Budapest topped Prague as cheapest destination for alcohol.

 

  • Prague, Czech Republic – £28.74 (1008 CZK)
  • Budapest, Hungary – £30.20 (1060 CZK)
  • Krakow, Poland – £33.82 (1187 CZK)
  • Riga, Latvia – £49.95 (1753 CZK)
  • Tallinn, Estonia – £53.11 (1864 CZK)
  • Palma, Majorca – £56.72 (1990 CZK)
  • Berlin, Germany – £57.54 (2019 CZK)
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands – £58.14 (2040 CZK)
  • Barcelona, Spain – £60.56 (2125 CZK)
  • London, England – £60.70 (2130 CZK)

This  is  from writer David Park, who  was born and raised in Baltimore and has been living in the Czech Republic since 2009 after studying journalism in Prague.

 

Fallen Icarus in Sicily

fallen angel icarus sicily

While Sicily is not a gay mecca –  slowly,  more  gay clubs and businesses  have opened  in the last few years.   There is a great article  HERE.

I just love this statue  and archaeological site!

The Valley of Temples in Agrigento (Sicily) is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and a perfect example of Greek architecture used in the colonies of the Magna Graecia.
The Valley includes the rests of different temples, all in Doric style and built during the most powerful period of Akragasthe ancient city that was praised by the Ancient Greek poet Pindar, as “the most beautiful city the mortals have ever built”
From 2011 onwards in front of the temple is the bronze statue of Icarus, made by the Polish artist Igor Mitoraj.
Lots  of  photos  HERE!

Gay Travel to Brighton

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Brighton: totes British and gay!
By Sebastian Saenz @sebastiaenz


San Francisco, Mykonos, Puerto Vallarta, Sydney, Cape Town… a lot of countries have their own quintessentially gay city, and England is not an exception. Bohemian Brighton is Britain’s gay capital par excellence
, welcoming tons of sexually diverse tourists, not only from the UK, but from continental Europe and the rest of the globe too!

This seaside white city of East Sussex is protected by the UNESCO because of its natural beauty, but it is also culturally and historically rich. There has been found human remains from the Bronze Age, the Roman Empire, the Anglo-Saxon period and the Middle Ages. Currently, it’s a great stop from London to Paris or vice versa due to its healing sea bathing. Additionally, tourists can visit sublime Georgian and Victorian buildings, and enjoy cultural, artistic and, of course, LGBTXYZ activities.

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Among the musts we can find the Indian inspired Royal Pavilion, the shop-a-holic Lanes, the relaxing spas, the precious beach and pier (even if it’s cold, the views from the Ferris wheel are magnificent), and the free Museum and Art Gallery (which portrays fine and modern art, fashion pieces, Brighton’s historic pieces, photographies, an LGBTQ Trail and more). Besides, its a great way to enjoy the beauty of English tradition without visiting the crowded London or the chilly Manchester. Every British thing to do can be done here: have tea and a substantial breakfast, or fish and chips and a pint of beer while watching rugby at a packed pub, and talk about rock, Harry Potter and the Queen with the cute and friendly locals over the Sunday Roast.

 

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Awesome places to eat are English’s of Brighton and Foodilic.
Even though the whole city is pink (local service providers are more than used to us), most attractions for our community can be found on St. James’s Street in Kemptown. For a fun way to start the night with a few drinks, Revenge and Legends are among the most popular, and for dancing and a little flirting, tourists can either stay at Revenge, or make a stop at Envy.
Roughly, 11–15% of its population over 15 is thought to be sexually diverse, and Brighton also has the highest percentage of same-sex households in the UK, as well as the most popular Pride celebration of the island. Consequently, this gay mecca has to be on everybody’s bucket list.

Gay Travel to Beautiful Barcelona

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Magical Barcelona
By Sebastián Sáenz @sebastiaenz

There are very few paradises such as Barcelona. This city has everything you can ask for perfect holidays: beaches, warmth, friendliness, dancing, food, art, shopping, architecture, history and one of the broadest minded societies in Europe. An LGBTXYZ tourist is free to dress however s/he wants, and hold the hand of whomever s/he wants anywhere in the city. So, here’s the itinerary I have designed for the perfect rainbow brake:

One day should be dedicated to the splendor of Barcelona. First thing in the morning, a visit to the Basílica of the Sagrada Familia is in order, one of the most beautiful Catholic temples in the world, created by the famous designer Antoni Gaudí, and an established UNESCO World Heritage site. Right outside, at the Ciudadela Park, tourists can find the Monument for all the persecuted gays, lesbians and trans people. And in the afternoon, the Park Güell (location of America’s Next Top model Cycle 7 finale) is also mandatory, with an original design that harmonically combines color, nature and religion.

At night you should be hungry, so visit any traditional tapas restaurant at the city center, try and share as many as you can (savory, sweet, spicy, veggie, seafood, etc.), keep the toothpicks, and pay the total when you’re done! Can Paixano (also known as la Champañería) is cheap, crowded, delicious, small and hype; and guarantees that you won’t get out sober, hungry or bored.

The following day can be a road trip. A little outside of the city, to the Northwest, you will find the Montserrat Monastery, on top of the Montserrat Mountain, which includes legends and breathtaking natural views. On your way back to the city, stop at Cavas Codorniu for a tour at the sparkling wine house. If you prefer the Northeast (and if you’re ok with a longer trip), I strongly suggest the Salvador Dalí Museum-Theatre for those who adore the pieces of this crazy artist.

 

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We all know a decent portion of the trip has to be dedicated to shopping. After all, Spain is the birth place of Balenciaga, Blahnik, Adolfo Dominguez, and Paco Rabanne; and Barcelona has been the home of designers Custo Dalmau and Estrella Archs. You will find boutiques and shops such as Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius, Zara Home, Uterqüe and Mango on every corner. The department store to go is El Corte Inglés. For the real touristic souvenir experience (and a little nice walk), Las Ramblas is splendid. The Mercado de la Boquería offers the best fresh food of the city. And Las Arenas Mall is fantastic, since it used to be a bullring plaza (how more Spanish can it get?).

At this point I believe we can agree some rest is obligatory. Barcelona has some of the best beaches of the continent, and even though non-heterosexual bathers are welcome anywhere, we tend to concentrate at Sitges Beach, 45 minutes to the West outside of the city. Don’t forget your sunblock and speedos!

 

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At the end of the day, and fully recovered, of course a lot of you are thinking to go flirt with some hot locals (the perfect Mediterranean mix of European and Arabic) and see if those tongues can do the same to you as they do to the accent.

 

The gay district is located in the Eixample neighborhood (hence the nickname Gayxample). The place to warm up with a few cocktails is La Chapelle, and around 1 am it might be time to go to Arena Madre, with three floors of vibrant music, intoxicating hormones, and all the fun you expect from Cataluña.

Of course, a good rest is needed, and the bed of your dreams will be found at the posh Axel Suites, a must for our community. And finally, if you may, try to visit the city in time for the Arenal Sound Music Festival in August, even if you don’t like festivals, it’s the best time of the city.

Palm Springs Winter Deal

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GET AWAY TO WARM!!!

Picturesque Palm Springs is known for its hot springs, stylish hotels, golf courses and spas. It’s also notable for its many fine examples of midcentury-modern architecture. Its core shopping district along Palm Canyon Drive features vintage boutiques, hip interior design shops and buzzy restaurants. The surrounding Coachella Valley offers hiking, biking and horseback riding.

INNdulge is THE GAY PLACE TO STAY! A Legendary gay resort in Palm Springs with a tropical pool/hot tub, free breakfast, Wi-Fi & a gym in a relaxed space. WINTER SALE RIGHT NOW!! Only A few rooms left!

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Pay for one night and get the second night FREE!
Excludes Friday, Saturday and holidays
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Historic Bath England UK

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Tiny but charming Bath
By Sebastian Saenz @sebastiaenz

Forget about big, chaotic, noisy and polluted cities. Tokyo is expensive, Paris is overwhelming, and don’t even get me started with public urination in New York. Yes, most tourists avoid all these by visiting Greek or Costa Rican beaches, but for those who don’t like sand, or who don’t want to risk losing their savings due to a hurricane, picturesque little towns are a true paradise, and Bath has to be on this bucket list.

Imagine yourself walking down the hills and streets of a tiny and traditional English town. Imperial buildings, one right after another, form a scenery that looks like it has its own sepia filter, and a soprano soothes the afternoon in a niche that seems to be just for yourself.

 

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The history of Bath is as rich as the one of Athens or Prague. It was colonized by the Roman Empire because of its natural (and still in use) steaming springs. Visitors from the whole world have visited Bath for centuries in order to cure their illnesses, or simply to relax in the warm waters. The Thermae Bath Spa not only offers dream-like spa services, but it does it with magnificent views of the town.

Jane Austen’s avid fans visit Bath as well in order to check out one of the houses she lived in. In there, the ancient woods and fabrics make anyone feel like Mr. Darcy or Elizabeth Bennet, which makes Bath perfect for lovers to get away for a romantic weekend. However, for those looking for history with more adrenaline, the ghost tour is a true must. Rumor has it that sworn enemies, tragic lovers, and scandalous families still wander the lanes and buildings of Bath after centuries of their deaths.

The city might not be popular for its monstrous gay scene, but it is extremely friendly. All visitors are welcome everywhere (as in the whole UK). Nonetheless, gay locals and tourists usually gather at the Mandalyns bar: cozy, fun and, as everything in Bath, tiny but worth checking out.
Friendly spots are also the lovely Paradise House B&B (with a charming garden, and a sublime view), The Pig Near Bath (for great local food), and The Canary Bar (awesome decor for gin aficionados).

Don’t forget to visit the abbey, the popular Pulteney Bridge and Royal Crescent. Bath is great for students of nearby towns during the weekends, and it is so itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie, that everything is a few steps away.

Tourism  info @ Visit Bath

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Dismaland Art Project in UK

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Inside the walls of a derelict seaside swimming resort in Weston-super-Mare, UK, mysterious construction over the last month—including a dingy looking Disney-like castle and a gargantuan rainbow-colored pinwheel tangled in plastic—suggested something big was afoot. Suspicion and anticipation surrounding the unusual activity attributed to fabled artist and provocateur Banksy has reached a Willy Wonka-esque fervor. Well, if Banksy’s your bag, continue fervoring. If not, there’s more than a few reasons to continue reading.

The spectacle has since been revealed to be a pop-up art exhibition in the form of an apocalyptic theme park titled Dismaland (“The UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction”) that will be open to the public for five weeks.

dismaland park uk

Here’s some text from the event’s official brochure:

Are you looking for an alternative to the soulless sugar-coated banality of the average family day out? Or just somewhere cheaper. Then this is the place for you—a chaotic new world where you can escape from mindless escapism. Instead of a burger stall, we have a museum. In place of a gift shop we have a library, well, we have a gift shop as well.

Bring the whole family to come and enjoy the latest addition to our chronic leisure surplus—a bemusement park. A theme park who’s big theme is: theme parks should have bigger themes…

This event contains adult themes, distressing imagery, extended use of strobe lighting, smoke effects and swearing. The following items are strictly prohibited: knives, spraycans, illegal drugs, and lawyers from the Walt Disney corporation.

 

dismaland theme park uk

A demented assortment of bizarre and beautiful artworks from no less than 58 global artists including Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Jimmy Cauty, Bill Barminski, Caitlin Cherry, Polly Morgan, Josh Keyes, Mike Ross, David Shrigley, Bäst, and Espo. Banksy is also showing 10 artworks of his own.

Dismaland features a cavalcade of artists featured here on Colossal over the last few years including pieces by Escif, Maskull Lasserre, Kate McDowell, Paco Pomet, Dietrich Wegner, Michael Beitz, Brock Davis, Ronit Baranga, and others.

A program of 24 short films  will be shown on a massive outdoor cinema that will play on a loop day and night. Films include shorts by Santiago Grasso & Patricio Plaza, Kirsten Lepore, The Mercadantes, Ze Frank, Adrien M. & Claire B., Black Sheep Films, and Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared.

Incredible Travel Experiences

sistine chapel gay travel

According to my Trip Advisor  account,  I have been to 51 cities in 9 countries. I was feeling kind of proud – until I read this article on LIFE HACK, 50 Incredible Travel Experiences to Have in Your Lifetime!

Seems  I have done  NONE OF THEM!

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Most are in countries I have not seen yet – and some countries I really don’t care to visit.  Just because any of our travel experiences are not on this list – does not lessen  their  value.  So what I have not been to India. or Peru.

gay travel paris france

I HAVE been to Paris and sat at a sidewalk cafe and people watched;

I HAVE been to Budapest and seen the ornate bath houses;

I HAVE been to Prague and looked over the city of spires from the TV Tower;

I HAVE been to New York City and admired the Twin Towers before they fell;

I HAVE been to Hocking Hills  Ohio and walked inside the majestic caves and forest;

I HAVE been to the Grand Canyon….

An incredible travel experience can be anywhere – and different  for everyone…

What have been YOUR BEST travel experiences?

 

PHIND Information to Landmarks

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Anyone who has ever explored a new city or even their hometown has come across something that they wanted to learn about.

Until now, they were limited in ways to access the information. Available today on iOS, PHIND is a new, easy and fun way to explore life by doing what comes natural to us, taking photos. PHIND gives users information on locations, attractions and landmarks with a one-button push. Combining the two words of photo and find, PHIND gives users a wealth of information in an easy-to-read tile layout about what they are currently looking at.

 

“The idea for PHIND came to me when I was in London admiring the Wellington Arch,” said PHIND Co-Founder & CEO Rishi Jhunjhnuwala. “At the time, I didn’t know what it was and I wanted to learn who created it and why it was there but had no way of knowing besides doing a generic text search and combing through the hundreds of results. With PHIND, all that is needed is a simple photo and anyone can access all of that information and more in seconds.”

PHIND has access to over 100 million photos of locations, attractions, landmarks, and places in its database. If a traveler uses PHIND to take a photo of the Santa Monica Pier, they would receive a vast amount of information on the Southern California landmark including restaurants, bars and attractions, to name a few, that are available nearby. PHIND also works on smaller landmarks like statues by providing information on the artist and the history of the piece. Complimenting its patent-pending visual search algorithm, PHIND narrows its search results down based on the user’s location. All of this is done in a matter of seconds.

 

Additionally, PHIND builds contextual bridges that aggregate information on locations from Foursquare, Yelp, and Wikipedia along with many of the other major content providers to present historical facts, photos, reviews, hours of operation, social media profiles and more. PHIND also easily connects users to Uber to help get them to any destination.

PHIND works across the United States and in key international cities all over the world. Future releases of PHIND will see Android compatibility, the ability to share locations on social media accounts, purchase tickets for attractions and more.

 

PHIND is available for download in the App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/phind/id898016251?mt=8. Users can sign-up for a PHIND account either by using their Facebook account or signing up for a native user ID. 

(ANDROID  IS  IN THE  WORKS!)

 

For more information, please visit http://www.phind.it, like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/phindapp and follow them on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/phindapp.

 

Gay Travel Around The World

25 must see cities in your lifetime!

From Paris to Prague –

From  San Francisco to New York –

gay travel asia gay travel best cities gay travel budapest hungary gay travel paris france

Shanghai  to Dubai!

Take a look at these breathtaking travel photos and see whats next on your list.

(NOTE – NOT ALL OF THESE  PLACES  ARE  GAY  FRIENDLY – BUT MOST ARE)

 

Book your next trip with the help of Dave at Donovan Travel!  1-800-942-1280

Sao Paulo Sauna 269 Chilli Pepper

gay travel brazil Sauna 269 Chilli Pepper

Brazilian Gay Sauna and Hotel was included in Louis Vuitton Travel Guide.

The top French luxury brand Louis Vuitton has included Hotel and Sauna 269 Chilli Pepper in its new edition of the tour guides.

The Louis Vuitton travel guides offer tips for those who want to know the 15 hottest destinations in the world, including Sao Paulo.

269 Chilli Pepper is the biggest and the best hotel for single men in Latin America. Created by businessman Douglas Drumond, the enterprise has 2,3 thousand square meters and is located at Largo do Arouche, downtown São Paulo, brazilian largest city.

The place offers 5 suites, 124 single rooms at its three floors, as well as 369 lockers for local visitors. Showers and jacuzzis working with filtered water, two ofuros, a winter swimming pool with waterfall, and a summer pool, ionized with sand filter.

 

 

 

Título da pauta
There is also a 60 square meters steam room and cooled indoor pool (with filtered water) and a dry sauna designed with ergonomic benches. Chilli also counts on a L-shaped lounge bar with seven square meters, furnished by acclaimed designer Philippe Starck, where several drinks and snacks are served. The second floor houses Mini Cine Cabaret, with a special selection of gay-themed movies. This is the hotel’s sexiest floor, where glory alleys, “Love Corner” lounge and “Surprise Surprise” space are located.

Still at the first floor, the hotel has a charming boutique which offers products by sex shop Alizée, books, E.S Collection speedos and shorts, in addition to exclusive clothes from 269 brand, designed by stylist Rafael Vicente. Besides that, Chilli Pepper’s first floor gains party atmosphere with setlist signed by top DJ Anderson Noise. Sporadically parties take place, and encounters among different tribes happen daily.

Título da pauta

Single rooms have soft siliconized-fiber pillows, which guarantees guests a wonderful night sleep. Probel mattresses are very confortable and made in 100% cotton fabric. Sheets, bedspreads and towels are by Topázio brand, an assurance of sophistication.

At 269 Chilli Pepper, single men can definitely find what they look for, at any time and with confort, safety and hygiene. All areas have been developed for the better service to goers, ensuring intense moments of rest and leisure. The hotel can be found at Louis Vuitton’s City Guide SP.

269 Chilli Pepper Single Hotel

Largo do Arouche, 610 (Corner with Jaguaribe Street) Santa Cecília – São Paulo/SP
24h

Phone: (11) 3331-3336
Website : www.hotelchillipepper.com.br

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hotelchillipepper?fref=ts

Twiter: https://twitter.com/ChilliPHotel

Will Bandra Ohm in India Ever get Built?

gay vtravel india

Who knows if this will ever get built!  But what a concept!

Virtually rising 140 meters in the air over Indian ground, the Bandra Ohm Residential Tower was supposedly designed for a location in Mumbai, India. James Law Cybertecture imagined a cluster of highly contemporary spaces inspired by the ripple effect. A rounded outline shapes a magnificent residential building resembling the Ohm (Ω) symbol. Fluid and dynamic spaces were designed to complete this highrise building – stunning undulating glass pools acting as balconies add drama to breathtaking city views. This comes to show that infinity pools can become part of luxury apartment design.

Bandra-Ohm-Tower-by-James-Law

I can not find any updates on this…..does anyone know?

Allegedly, it is  currently under construction in Mumbai, India…..

Going for Baroque: Rosary Chapel in Puebla’s church of Santo Domingo

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rosary chaple santo domingo

Santo-Domingo-Rosary-Chapel

OMG!

About 2 hours from Mexico City is The Rosary Chapel (Capilla del Rosario) is one of Mexico’s most famous chapels and is inside the Templo de Santo Domingo situated in the center of the city, at the intersection of 5 de Mayo and 4 Poniente. The Templo de Santo Domingo was built between 1571 and 1611 while the Chapel –  between 1650and 1690. The Chapel is a magnificent example of Mexican Baroque art.

Every inch of the walls, ceiling, pillars and portals is covered with tiles, gold leaf, sculptures and carving. The chapel was built by natives under the instruction of the Spaniards (reflected by many Spanish-style paintings on the walls). At the top of the altar, which is made of wood and gold leaf and surrounded by marble columns sits the Archangel Gabriel. Also famous is the heavenly orchestra of cherubim surrounded by a riot of arabesques.    Read More at Visit Mexico.
Rosary Chapel and Ceiling, Church of Santo Domingo, Puebla, Mexico

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The Savoys Beaufort Bar London

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The best thing about travel for me, is seeing new and beautiful buildings and design.

london gay travel The-Savoy-main2

If you’re seeking hardcore glamour, you’ll find Deco joy at The Savoy Hotel.

Since it’s major renovation you now have a choice of two shiny bars: American Bar and the Beaufort Bar.(pictured)

A £220 million project in 2012  made sure every corner of the hotel  was restored and refurbished.

Beaufort bar incorporates the hotel’s former cabaret stage (graced by the likes of George Gershwin and Carol Gibbons) as the centrepiece to a theatrical, art deco space, with sumptuous black velvet furnishings and £40,000 of gold leaf on the walls.

Romantic couples might like to opt for the Gilded Cage – two glasses literally served in a bird cage, and containing vodka, mandarin liqueur, yellow Chartreuse, fresh passion fruit and mango with pomegranate foam (£25 per couple) – while groups will be tempted by the four-person champagne punches with names like the Garden Party, Rhapsody in Blue and the Cat’s Meow, served in absinthe fountains and costing £40.
Strand, London WC2R 0EU
www.savoy.co.uk

See more images  on this blog.

london bars

Gay Travel in Vienna

Vienna is the undisputed capital of
gay and lesbian life in Austria. Of Vienna’s 1.7 million inhabitants, an
estimated 170,000 of them are gay or lesbian. Both in the past and in the
present, gays and lesbians have managed to play a prominent role in public life
and in the media.

Gay Generals and Imperial Love

The legendary warrior
Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736) is probably the most prominent homosexual in
Austrian history. But it wasn’t just on the battlefield that he was surrounded
exclusively by men; in private, he was said to prefer intimate relations with
members of his own sex.  Eugene built his
career and expanded his power base during the reigns of three emperors, and his
strong influence on Vienna remains visible to this day. His summer palace,
Schloss Belvedere, is an impressive baroque edifice which houses paintings from
the Middle Ages to the present day, including a multitude of works by numerous
Austrian artists of the modern period (Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka).

The last emperor
served by Prince Eugene, Charles VI (the father of Maria Theresa), is said to
have had an intimate relationship with Count Michael Johann Althan III, one of
the few members of the introverted and eccentric monarch’s inner circle. When
Althan died in 1722, the grieving emperor recalled that they had “loved each
other intimately 19 years long, in true friendship.” Under Charles’ reign,
Vienna flourished, the Church of St. Charles Borromeo (Karlskirche) was built,
Schönbrunn Palace and the Hofburg were enlarged, and numerous grandiose baroque
structures were designed by the most prominent architects of the day, Fischer
von Erlach (the elder and the younger) and Lukas von Hildebrandt.

The 19th Century

Somewhat more than
100 years later, in the second half of the 19th century, it was once again time
for frenetic building activity. During this period, Vienna grew to exceed a
million inhabitants and Emperor Franz Joseph ordered the construction of the
Ringstrasse, Vienna’s most glorious boulevard. The tragic end met by the
architects of the world-famous Vienna State Opera had to do both with the
Ringstrasse, the building itself and with their homosexuality. The gay
architect couple Eduard van der Nüll (1812-1868) and August Sicard von
Sicardsburg (1813-1868) began construction of the opera house before the street
level of the Ringstrasse had been officially established – with the fateful
consequence that the street ended up being one meter higher than they had
expected. The result, visible to this day, was that the State Opera turned out
a bit too low-slung, with the front ramps a little too short. Following open
public criticism of the architects’ error in judgment – to which Emperor
Francis Joseph supposedly added his voice – van der Nüll, who was depression-prone
to begin with, took his life on April 3, 1868. Barely ten weeks later,
Sicardsburg – his heart surely broken – followed him in death.

Today’s Scene

The center of the
gay and lesbian scene is the Rosa-Lila-Villa on Linke Wienzeile. Known locally
simply as “Villa”, it first opened its doors in 1982 and was run by a dedicated
a handful of Viennese gays and lesbians. Today, numerous gay, lesbian, and gay
and lesbian organizations are headquartered here. Services include information
and advice. In the foyer of the building tourists and locals alike can browse
flyers, magazines and announcements of gay and lesbian life in the city. Café
Willendorf on the ground floor of this gay and lesbian institution is a
pleasant place to while away the hours in a great atmosphere, enjoy one of the
many vegetarian dishes on the menu or sit at the central bar.

The lion’s share of
gay and lesbian hangouts is situated near the Rosa-Lila-Villa, along Linke
Wienzeile and Rechte Wienzeile. Friends meet at the time-honored Café Savoy for
a “Melange” coffee or a “G’Spritzter” particularly at the weekend or after a
trip to the nearby Naschmarkt; young gays up for cocktails go to the Mango Bar.
Felixx is an upmarket alternative on the gay café and bar circuit. At Village
Bar gays get together with friends of all ages to savor the easy going
atmosphere. During the daytime, Café Berg with its adjoining gay and lesbian
bookshop Löwenherz is a popular place to meet. The doors of the
well-established Eagle Bar Vienna and the modern, exceptionally appointed Sling
are open until deep in the night for the late night crowd.

Alongside Café
Willendorf at the Rosa-Lila-Villa, there are several restaurants nearby
offering fine food to their gay and lesbian guests. For years now, Motto has stood out from the
masses as a perennially popular haunt where a particularly wealthy and
attractive clientele can meet up. The chic interior is only outshone by the exceptionally
good-looking staff, who count an as then unknown Helmut Lang among their alumni.
Jude Law is a recent A-list patron. Operator Bernd Schlacher’s burgeoning
restaurant and catering empire now includes such luminaries as Kunsthallencafé,
Halle im MuseumsQuartier and thespectacular Motto am Fluss inside the Wien-City
boat terminal on the Danube Canal. All of the restaurants and bars have one
thing in common: every single one is an out-and-out hit with gay men.

Gugg, another star of
the new crop, is the club restaurant of the highly politically active Hosi Wien.
Alongside group meetings and get-togethers it also runs a café where visitors
can meet qualified contacts in a relaxed setting during advertised opening
hours. The first district’s Santo Spirito is one of a kind, and undeniably one
of Vienna’s most distinctive establishments. Its gay and heterosexual clientele
are treated to unforgettable evenings of good food and exquisite wines, all set
to a background of classical music.

Hard On, the Leather
& Motorbike Community Vienna (LMC, est. 1985) created a new bar after
leaving [lo:sch] in 2009. It quickly established itself as a popular haunt on
the Vienna gay fetish scene and is the location for Wien in Schwarz (Vienna in
black) – an international event which has already become a permanent fixture on
the scene – as well as the newer sister event Vienna Fetish Spring. The leather
and fetish bar known for many years as [lo:sch] has been run by the Association
of Motorbike & Leatherwear Friends Austria (MLF) as Club-Losch since 2009.
Club-Losch has its very own club catering to all preferences and hosting
frequent events.

Anyone who prefers to
meet the like-minded out of doors during the summer months can – by day – head
for the nude area in the “Toter Grund” section of the Danube Island, a
recreational area very popular among the Viennese, and – in the evening –
venture a walk through Rathauspark. And it’s not just during the cold winter
months that the Kaiserbründl mens’ sauna (a listed oriental bathhouse) and the
Sportsauna, which is popular with younger people, keep the steam turned up for
hot and sweaty action. Anyone who likes letting their hair down should check
out the monthly parties at the Sargfabrik. Since 1997 the bathhouse there has
been a popular venue for gay men. It is geared towards men looking for a place
to relax, and who find the classic gay sauna too sex-oriented. The ideal
location for gay men who like to go to the sauna, for a sauna.

Party, Party

Why Not, a popular inner
city disco which has occupied the same location for more than 30 years is a
true pioneer of Vienna’s gay dance club scene – and is still full to bursting
on a regular basis. Known locally simply as “Not”, these popular Friday and
Saturday night parties belt out all the classic gay anthems in a set list rich
with hit tunes from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and present day.

Fronted by Vienna’s
best known drag queen, Miss Candy, for over 20 years now, Heaven is an absolute
institution on the city’s club circuit. The Heaven brand’s packed agenda
includes weekly club nights, monthly mega events and of course the Rosenball at
Palais Auersberg which is held on the same night as the world-famous Opera Ball.
Although not really a ball if you go by the strictest definition of the word, the
Rosenball is a red letter day on the capital’s party scene, providing gay and
lesbian party people with a queer alternative to its more conservative
counterpart. Every now and again Miss Candy and her team take the Heaven parties
back on to the stage at one of the city’s numerous clubs.

G.Spot takes place
on the first Friday of the month, and is geared mainly to lesbians but is also
open to gays. The music program features alternating musical themes such as
Electronic, Tribal and Techno, providing welcome relief from the
run-of-the-mill gay and lesbian disco fare. At queer:beat gays, lesbians and
friends can dance away to indie rock, electronic and chart music. Four DJs on
two dance floors pump up the sound for the young, dance-addicted guest joined
by optical treats in the shape of visual artists. Up! at lutz – der club brings
North American big city music to the Austrian capital and is a great insider
tip. FMqueer is the brainchild of a group of music and culture loving gays and
lesbians who met at radio FM4 and now hold cool parties at irregular intervals
exactly to their own tastes.

Arena – a huge complex and familiar face on
Vienna’s club scene – plays host to The Circus every three months. Probably the
capital’s biggest gay night, it even attracts cross-border clubbers from neighboring
countries. The FSK organizers sporadically stage their event at Pratersauna,
one of Vienna’s most in-demand locations. This former sauna club in the Prater park
provides an interesting alternative to the capital’s city center locations,
particularly during the hot summer months. Both of these large-scale events
draw in the crowds with a mix of house and a smattering of pop and German
Schlager alternatives, all very easily accessible using the 24-hour weekend
underground service.

The OMG Society’s new location, Chaya Fuera,
brings with it an end to their invitation-only policy – a move which has been much
appreciation by gender-free, queer, gay, straight, and ‘whatever’ partygoers. Once
a month, DJs ensure party atmosphere into the early hours with premium club
house on the main and restroom floors, and in contrast to the newfound
openness, there’s also a men only area.

Amongst the movers
and shakers on the Vienna party scene, Pitbull – Bear & Butch Clubbing is
definitely one of the most exciting and promising nights. Once a month, “real
men” meet guys on the lookout for someone new at the Pi Club. The music is all
about heavy bass and the mood is heady. An absolute must, and not just for stout
bearded men in plaid shirts.

Another well-established
recent addition is the Meat Market party series. The organizers pick the city’s
coolest locations for their parties which are aimed at clubbers that like to
dance long and hard. The Badeschiff, a converted barge moored on the Danube
Canal, is Meat Market’s venue of choice although it has been known to call in at
Volksgarten too from time to time. Genre: techno and electro.

The Lesbian Scene

Vienna’s lesbian
scene is significantly smaller than its gay scene, but here too there are
well-established offerings. A popular fixture since 1977 is the Frauencafé.
Founded in the 1970s by a feminist collective and then lovingly and faithfully
managed by a sole woman, this small but exclusive women only (transgender
welcome) café is now headed by a group of committed lesbians possessing plenty
of experience in the gastro and cultural scene. The Frauenzentrum Bar, known to
regulars simply as the “FZ”, complements Vienna’s female and lesbian bar
culture with recurring fests and events. Women wanting to hit the dance-floor
go to the Saturday disco at FZ where there is plenty of space to dance
(sparsely furnished) and a good atmosphere and music for minimal admission.
Despite the modern interior, lipstick lesbians may feel a little out of place
here.

One of the oldest
clubs of the scene is Café Willendorf in the Rosa Lila Villa which has become
especially popular with lesbians in recent years. It offers excellent cuisine
and in summer a cozy bar in the inner courtyards is an idyllic haven for guests,
but make sure you reserve in advance to avoid disappointment. Women’s parties
take place at irregular intervals – organized together with the counseling
center for lesbians located in the same building. Female patrons feel right at
home at Marea Alta, a friendly women’s bar in nearby Gumpendorfer Strasse. The
clientele is young and trendy, and the location is a real insider tip.

A perfect destination for party lovers is Las Chicas
Frauen Clubbings. The night has attracted a devoted fan community and is now
resident at S-Club Vienna. Run by women for women and their male and female
friends, Labr!s is a trendy  bar-cum-club
in Vienna’s seventeenth district which hosts special events such as karaoke and
club nights.
Other haunts not purely lesbian, but
nevertheless frequented particularly well by women, are club events g.Spot, FMQueer
and Café Berg.

Culture

Retaking its
prominent position on the gay and lesbian program after a break of a few years
is the Festwochen Schamloser Kultur (Shameless Entertainment Festival). Georgette
Dee, the Geschwister Pfister and Margaret Chou are amongst the array of
well-known artists on the lineup. The queer film festival identities
takes place every two years and enjoys a particularly strong following.
Centrally located cinemas combine to host a varied program alongside a packed
series of fringe events for the enjoyment of film fans.

All these themed
offerings shouldn’t, however, obscure the fact Vienna offers an immense range
of cultural, culinary and shopping experiences that aren’t specifically gay and
lesbian in character. The major cultural institutions, including the State
Opera, Burgtheater, Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts, with its
newly opened Kunstkammer) Albertina, Belvedere, and the MuseumsQuartier vie for
visitors’ attention, as do the avant-garde offerings of small exhibitions and
cellar stages. Shopping on Kärntner Strasse and Graben has a homo-factor nearly
as high as that of Mariahilfer Strasse, which lies in close proximity to the
scene – and it goes without saying that openly gay and lesbian guests can feel
quite welcome at the city’s “normal” restaurants, inns and wine taverns.

Vienna Travel

China to Build the Tallest Building in the World

I thought Dubai was to build the tallest building in the world – now China says they plan to do it – and do it in 7 MONTHS!

In an astounding feat no matter if it is the 220 stories tall
building or the fact the Chinese plan to build it in just seven months,
this new building will be a phenomena in architecture. It will be energy efficient and put together using pre-fabricated modules.  

 It is expected
to start construction in June of this year and be finished by the first
of next year.

Located in the middle of a field in Changsha, China
it is expected to attract population to the area. The building is an
incentive for people to move to accommodate China’s massive population. 

This time lapse video has all the details... 

How Big is TOO Big? Tallest Building in the World

Only in Dubai right?  Where size matters. 


If this proposed structure is built in Saudia
Arabia, Kingdom Tower will be the tallest building in the world at 3, 281 feet. The
Sears/Willis  Tower is 1,451 feet. One World Trade Center was just crowned 1,776 feet.


Burj Dubai I think currently holds the record and is the tallest man-made structure in the world, at 829.8 m (2,722 ft). 

After 20 months of convincing investors, financing is finally ready for the
Kingdom Tower project. Talal Al Maiman, CEO of Kingdom Real Estate Development Co. said in an
interview in Shanghai that every detail about financing was discussed with investors and
currently the project can move forward as there are no financial obstacles to it.

Kingdom Tower in Jeddah will be the world’s tallest skyscraper with a height of
1,007 meter (3 303.8 feet). It will be the first building to reach the height of 1
kilometer.

Although no exact completion date
was given, the Kingdom Tower might be completed as early as 2017, and it will have more than 200
floors, with the highest deck observation in the world on the 157th level.

Check out this InfoGraphic showing tall building comparisons!

San Francisco Bridge LIGHTS UP Tonight

Internationally renowned artist Leo Villareal has been busy in San Francisco, using the Bay Bridge
West Span as a frame, for a five-hundred-feet high and 1.8-mile-wide
installation will comprise more than 25,000 LED lights, making it the
world’s largest ever light sculpture.

TONIGHT is the unveiling!  

The installation will light up
the Bay Area for two years, with an estimated 50 million people expected
to view the display in that time. – Whats happens after two years? I don’t know. 

According to the project’s webpage, “patterns of weather, the water
and the traffic of cars, ships and wildlife” will all be used as
inspiration for creating Villareal’s software algorithms, ensuring that
each light pattern is unique and never repeated.

“People’s perception of what the piece is will be highly subjective,
no two people may see the same thing,” the artist said. “But there’ll
still be this point of connection between many, many people.”

Villarael said he hopes that the “monumental” piece of public art
will inspire artists in the Bay Area, while local businesses will no
doubt be hoping the project will fulfill its promise to add around $97
million to the local economy.